Leopold von Sacher-Masoch et al.
edited and translated by James Patrick Wilmer
ELS 110. 118 + xxi pages $22. ISBN: 978-1-55058-392-2
The place is Graz, a city in Austria which was then, in the 1860s and 70s, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian crownland of Styria. For a time three unique writers made this city their home. The most prominent of these is a name known to many of us in the English-speaking world owing to one of his more piquant writings, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The other two – Emerich von Stadion and Emil Mario Vacano – are less well known, even in Germany and Austria. This volume brings together three of their works of fiction, for the first time in English translation, that treat male same-sex desire and love. The first of these is Stadion’s tale “Leonor,” which is taken from his Three Strange Memories (1868). The events recounted in this story provided Sacher-Masoch with the material he would use in the novella The Love of Plato (1870), as he acknowledges in the feuilleton “Love on Account of One’s Health” (1873) – which is included as an appendix in this volume. The third text is comprised of excerpts from Vacano’s novel King Fantasus (1886), which is very loosely based on the life of the homosexual King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Yet, there may be a link between The Love of Plato and King Fantasus. The former work inspired a mystery man to correspond and arrange at least two meetings with Sacher-Masoch. This episode is narrated by the author’s first wife, Aurora, née Rümelin (1845–1933), who took the pseudonym Wanda (the first name of the heroine of Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs) for her 1906 memoirs. This also appears as an appendix here in a new and corrected translation.
Edited by Matte Robinson, St. Thomas University, and Demetres Tryphonopoulos, University of New Brunswick
ELS 109. 158 + xlii pages $35.00. ISBN 978-1-55058-391-5.
In her late work H.D. was concerned with uniting the myths she had created about the different periods in her life. She actively searched for correspondences between people, events, and objects so as to recast them in the final version of her mythos, to find their timeless value. The Hirslanden Notebooks (written 1957-59) were kept during H.D.’s stay at the place of her eventual death, the Hirslanden Klinik, in 1957, and continued while she was staying at the Klinik Brunner at Küsnacht. A collection of dreamwork and reflections, they are to her late work what parts of Majic Ring and Tribute to Freud were to her World War II years: a workbook with which she plumbed her psyche and mapped the images populating it. The important people and events in her life blend with her dream-images; her occult philosophy fuels this quest and is transformed, edited by the information she brings back from dreams and processes in the notebooks. This is the wellspring from which her poetry and fiction are fed.
Read alongside her other late work (including Magic Mirror, Compassionate Friendship and Thorn Thicket), The Hirslanden Notebooks offer not only raw material drawn directly from her dreams but also insight into the quick associative processes—crisscrossing the hazy borderline between memoir and invention—that characterize all phases of her work but come to their finale in her late cycle of fiction and poetry. Moreover (and together with the other prose works of the late 1950s), The Hirslanden Notebooks serve the same function for the reading of H.D.’s late poetry (Vale Ave and Hermetic Definition) that her prose work of the mid-1940s (including The Gift, Majic Ring and Tribute to Freud) does vis-à-vis Trilogy.
Edited by Kevin McGuirk
ELS 108. 452+xxiv pages $40.00. ISBN 978-1-55058-456-1.
A.R. Ammons was a member of a remarkable generation of American poets. Born in the 1920s, these poets came of age with the second world war and came to prominence in the 1960s, a decade with which some of their most characteristic work is still closely identified. They are now part of our cultural and literary history. A generous selection of Ammons’s letters and journals, An Image for Longing will promote a renovated understanding of this important poet, sending readers back to his classic work with new appreciation, by drawing a picture of his career from its beginnings in the 1950s, through the 1960s, the decade of his remarkable ascendancy, to the culmination of its first phase with the publication of his major work, Sphere: the Form of a Motion, in 1974.
The story covered in An Image for Longing has several interconnected strands. It is a story of a career, the external matter of it: journal publications, contacts in the field, trying to publish a book; books published, positions, awards, fame. It is also the story the growth of a poet’s mind, as Ammons as an artist and intellectual, fulfilling certain potentials present in the letters of the 1950s, and gradually finding a way—a form and rhetoric—to articulate them fully in Sphere. Finally, it is the story of a man, awkward in the human realm, troubled in relations, but gradually finding a rest there. As he writes to his friend Harold Bloom on completing Sphere again: “I never felt as connected to other humans as I have since I finished the poem.”
H.D. (Hilda Doolittle)
Magic Mirror, Compassionate Friendship, and Thorn Thicket:
A Tribute to Erich Heydt
Edited and with an introduction
by Nephie J. Christodoulides
with a preface by Demetres Tryphonopoulos and Matte Robinson
ELS 106. 292 pages.
Magic Mirror is H.D.'s unpublished roman à clef of her eight-year "strange relationship" with Dr. Erich Heydt, a psychiatrist in Zürich with whom she formed a bond which often oscillated between professional consultation and a sort of analyst-analysand intimacy accompanied by much inner conflict and resistance. Relatively short, and written in three drafts between 1955 and 1956, Magic Mirror is autobiography in disguise: "Everything is true there… I had a hard time finding names for my people. They are real people; everything is real except the build-up of Eric's enigmatic German background." Magic Mirror sheds abundant light on her relationship with Heydt, who played a role much like Freud did in H.D.'s life twenty years earlier. The work also offers insights into her relationship with Ezra Pound; her unresolved bond with her half-brother, Eric Doolittle; Pieter Rodeck; as well as the sinking of the Lusitania and the still-birth of her first child on May 21, 1915. Further, the memoir is significant as a textual alembic which casts into sharp relief issues manifested in her other postwar works, for example, the occult, spiritualism, and how they both relate to psychoanalysis and her vocation as a writer. Magic Mirror contains material that is further expanded in her memoirs Compassionate Friendship (1955) and Thorn Thicket (1960).
A new edition of
Marianne Moore's poetry from 1936-1941
EDITED AND WITH AN INTRODUCTION
BY HEATHER CASS WHITE
ELS 107 (2011). 169 pp.
The five year period examined in this volume, 1936 to 1941, was a time of multifarious personal and professional adversity for Marianne Moore, as well as one in which she came to believe that America as a nation was in need of a grace to which her art had not, until that point, been sufficiently attuned. Her 1941 book What Are Years was her response to that need, and is a milestone in Moore's writing: it is the meeting point between the end of the early Moore and the beginning of the late, and the first book in which Moore makes thoroughgoing revisions to major poems with the intention of re-shaping her earlier work to fit later intentions. As such it is crucial to our understanding of Moore's life-long, ever-intensifying practice of revision. Adversity and Grace reproduces What Are Years in full, as well as the earliest published version of each poem it contains, and provides variant tables that note all of the changes Moore made to the poems in revising them.
A companion volume to A-Quiver with Significance: Marianne Moore, 1932-1936, the editor's previous edition of Moore's work, Adversity and Grace presents in facsimile reproduction every poem Moore published between 1936 and 1941.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
What Are Years
A Note on the Apparatus
"Smooth Gnarled Crepe Myrtle!"
"See in the Midst of Fair Leaves"
"Walking-Sticks and Paperweights and Watermarks"
"Four Quartz Crystal Clocks"
"A Glass-Ribbed Nest"
"What Are Years?"
"Light is Speech"
"He 'Digesteth Harde Yron'"
Index of Poems
Edited by Paul Delany and Colette Colligan
ELS 105. 419 pages. $25.
Eleven years after it was first published in 1884, George Gissing spoke of The Unclassed as "the work of a very young man, who dealt in a romantic spirit with the gloomier facts of life." When it was first published in 1884, it drew criticism from all quarters. When Gissing later revised the book, he felt ashamed of his youthful enthusiasms; he may have turned The Unclassed into a more accomplished novel, but also a less interesting one. The present edition makes the original text available for the first time since the four hundred copies printed in 1884. Only this text does justice to all four aspects of the novel: the romance, the realist experiment, the sociological tract, and the autobiographical testament.
Edited by James Sexton
ELS 104. 184 pages.
Although better known as a novelist and essayist, Huxley wrote much short fiction. This book collects twelve of Huxley's stories that – with the exception of "The Death of Lully," which appeared in Limbo – have never been published in book form. It also includes a previously unknown story and a little-known essay.
1. Imaginary Conversation – Ninon and Gaspard
2. The Death of Lully
3. Imaginary Conversation – Sir Kenelm and Venetia Digby
4. Good and Old-Fashioned
5. Over the Telephone
6. Under Compulsion
7. Nine A.M.
8. Visiting Stranger
9. Time's Revenges
10. Consider the Lilies
Appendix A: The Nun's Tragedy: An Unknown Story by Aldous Huxley
Appendix B: Consider the Lilies [essay]
Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, Ed.
ELS no. 101. 220 pages. Price $30.
Margot Kathleen Louis (1954–2007) published largely as a scholar of Victorian poetry, but medieval literature was her first love, and an abiding passion she shared enthusiastically with students, audiences and colleagues throughout her entire career. But medieval English literature, as it was studied in 1976, included as yet no women authors, and virtually no dissenting or religiously radical writing – in short, none of the kinds of texts that she most valued. In Victorian literature she found more of what she would later call the “anguished and passionate debate that mediated the shift from various forms of Christianity to a far greater spiritual diversity.” Focusing on the role of allegory, myth, visionary experience, and the feminine divine in the medieval imagination, this volume seeks to pay tribute to Louis’ fascination with the rise of literary studies involving early women writers, which brought with it an opening up of the pre-1700 canon to both gender and religious pluralism. The present volume seeks to marry her love of early women writers with her other great passion, women’s literary and pedagogical challenges to male-dominated religious traditions.
Table of Contents
Skepticism, Agnosticism and Belief: The Spectrum of Attitudes Toward Women’s Vision in Medieval England
1. Mother and More for the Middle Ages: Monica as Teacher, Visionary, Philosopher and Mystic
2. Revisiting Christina’s Vow of Virginity: The Influence of Developing Marriage Law on Christina of Markyate’s Life
3. Truth, Sex, and Divine Poetics in Alan of Lille’s De Planctu Naturae
4. Sealed Flesh, Book-Skin: How to Read the Female Body in the Early Middle English Seinte Margarete
5. Iconic Representations of Chaucer’s Two Nuns and Their Tales from Manuscript to Print
6. Female Initiation Rites and Women Visionaries: Mystical Marriage in the Middle English Translation of The Storie of Asneth
7. Male Approbation in the Sixteenth-Century Glosses to the Book of Margery Kempe
8. “This boke is begonne...but it is nott yett performyd”: Compilations of Julian of Norwich’s A Revelation of Love, 1413-1670
9. Susanna Elisabeth Prasch, Neo-Latin Novels, and Female Characters in Psyche Cretica (Regensburg, 1685)
10. Epilogue: A Catena of Women
Edited & with an introduction by Paul Delany
ELS no. 102. 333 pages. Price $20.
The first edition of Gissing’s New Grub Street appeared in three volumes in 1891, and all of the many subsequent English-language editions have been based on this text. Gissing wanted to revise and abridge it, but never found a publisher willing to issue a revised text. However, when his companion Gabrielle Fleury translated the novel into French, Gissing made extensive cuts in the copy from which she worked. He approved the final translation, which was published in 1901 under the title La Rue des Meurt-de-Faim. That year, Gissing wrote to Henry Davray, who had reviewed New Grub Street and Born in Exile in the Mercure de France: “Of course you are right about the superfluities to be found in both of them. The fault is partly due to their having been written when English fiction was subjected to the three-volume system; but also in a measure to the haste in which all my early work was done. As the Oxford undergraduate said about his essay—I had not time to make the things shorter. However, in the case of ‘New Grub Street,’ this defect is remedied in the French translation; almost a third of the novel has been cut out. If ever I get the opportunity, I shall give all my books a vigorous revision, & cut them down.”
Gissing eliminated various minor characters and sub-plots, and cut some passages of autobiography and personal opinion that were not relevant to the main themes of the novel. Altogether, the revised New Grub Street is a more unified work, with a stronger narrative drive.
ELS no. 103. 103 pages. Price $18.
ISBN 978- 1-55058-385-4
This book argues that in her late poems Sylvia Plath adopts a new attitude towards her art and towards technique in general. Instead of constructing the perfect hypnotic illusions of her earlier poems, she relentlessly reflects upon the artificial in fantasy; she ruthlessly criticizes the seduction of illusion, so that the spell of her earlier poetry now reappears, only deformed, unnatural, disturbing. Now the façades appear as façades, artifice as artifice, device as device; all of which brings the disturbance of the earlier poems from the underground painfully into the open air. In this respect, her late poetry can be seen as commenting on, or critiquing, her early poetry’s desire to create ideal fantasy worlds and the seductive pleasures they offer. This later, metapoetic Plath displays brilliance for isolating the machinery of clichés, images, and techniques of everyday discourse of the 50s and early 60s, the post-war mythologies and material practices that shattered and reorganized communal life. All the spaces, public and private, that we put our faith in (churches, hospitals, town centres, homes), all the relationships and institutions wherein we find comfort and stability (family, marriage, friendship, religion, education) become in Plath’s hands a collection of props, devices, and techniques: a bag of tricks. On one level, then, the pleasurable or, at least, mythic codes become unavailable, but on another level, Plath, rather than leaving her readers empty handed, provides them with a toolkit for analysing and transforming the machinery of experience.
edited and with an introduction
by Heather Cass White
ELS 98 (2008). 170 pages. $22.00.
Order A-Quiver with Significance
A persistent problem for readers and critics of Moore has been, and continues to be, the difficulty of finding her work in any but its last published form. Scholars need editions of Moore’s poems that present them in their original forms, with variant tables indicating later revisions; A-Quiver With Significance: Marianne Moore, 1932-1936 will provide them with one such edition, focusing on a particularly rich period in Moore’s career. This book gathers together facsimile versions of all of the poems Marianne Moore published between 1932 and 1936, the period during which Moore wrote not only most of her greatest poems, but also (by critical consensus) the last great poems she was ever to write. The centerpiece of this book is a facsimile of The Pangolin and Other Verse, the limited edition that Moore published in 1936, and which she never republished in its original form.
“The edition Moore created at the height of her powers, Pangolin and Other Verse, is now mostly out of reach of the public, hidden away in rare books collections. And other poems and original versions of poems, are scattered in early issues of journals only a few academic libraries carry at all. Like other modernists, Moore took great interest in the material appearance of her poetry. To have access to a facsimile edition, with the versions of poems Moore created when her writing was at its strongest, and with the layout and illustrations she was so intimately involved in producing, is a scholar’s dream and an essential item in the personal library of all serious readers of modern poetry.”
“Building the edition off of a facsimile reprint of Moore’s powerful collection of poems, The Pangolin and Other Verse, makes good sense given the importance of the volume to her modernist peers. As White notes, Moore paid particular attention to the ordering of her verses in this collection, as she did to every aspect of the book’s production. The volume makes an excellent case study in the ways in which the material presentation of a book of poems can prove vital to addressing the content of the verses within.”
Table of Contents
The Pangolin and Other Verse
A Note on the Apparatus
“The Monkey Puzzler”
“Part of a Novel, Part of a Poem, Part of a Play”
“No Swan So Fine”
“The Plumet Basilisk”
“The Frigate Pelican”
“Imperious Ox, Imperial Dish”
“Smoth Gnarled Crepe Myrtle!”
“See in the Midst of Fair Leaves”
“Walking-Sticks and Paperweights and Watermarks”
A Note on the Illustrations
Edited and with an Introduction
by James Gifford
Afterword by James A. Brigham
ELS 100 (2008). 304 pages. $25.00.
Order Pied Piper of Lovers
Durrell’s first novel, Pied Piper of Lovers, was published in 1935, shortly after he left England to live abroad until his death in 1990. As an autobiographical Künstlerroman, it traces Walsh Clifton’s Anglo-Indian childhood and his struggles to negotiate a life between “mother” India and “father” England. The trauma of leaving India for an alien home propels the novel’s concerns with colonial life and its wounds, transitioning from an idyllic rural world to London and Bloomsbury in the 1920s. Pied Piper of Lovers draws keenly from Durrell’s own life and charts the emotional experiences that would drive the rest of his career. For these reasons, Durrell never allowed republication, and the novel was largely lost in the London Blitz. Pied Piper of Lovers prompts significant reconsideration of the impetus and political tensions behind Durrell’s late modernist masterpieces, The Alexandria Quartet, The Avignon Quintet, and Bitter Lemons. This new edition allows readers to reevaluate Durrell’s complex role as a colonial writer in a postcolonial world by emphasizing his irony, privileges, and bitterness for a life always lived in-between.
“In many ways reminiscent of Woolf’s uneven but fascinating The Voyage Out, Durrell’s first novel – seeing the light of day for the first time in 78 years – is an autobiographical Bildungsroman that takes a transnational “voyage in,” opening a window onto the writer honing his craft while tackling themes that recur throughout his career: the ambivalences of colonial politics; the collision of national identities; the existential homelessness of the modern exile; the psychosexual turbulences of maturation. Readers interested in modernism, scholars of postcoloniality, and gender critics alike will welcome the opportunity to reappraise Durrell’s literary development in light of this hitherto unavailable text.”
“Pied Piper of Lovers is a revealing and fascinating work. As well as touching on many of the real circumstances of Lawrence Durrell's youthful life, it introduces in nascent form themes, techniques and characters that Durrell will develop in his later novels. Not least intriguing are his protagonists Walsh and Ruth who will appear again in the streets of Alexandria, Athens and Avignon; their mysterious relationship, which lies at the heart of Durrell's creative urgency, is first explored here in Pied Piper of Lovers.”
Edited by James Gifford
Introduction by Richard Pine
Afterword by James A. Brigham
ELS 99 (2008). 272 pages. $25.00.
Order Panic Spring
First published in 1937, two years after Durrell took up residence on the Greek island Kerkyra, Panic Spring broke with the realist tradition in 1930s novels and shows the young author’s first attempts to extend High Modernist innovations in rural and personal landscapes. Cubist, surrealist, and imagist techniques merge with rural life and the peasant village that an international group of expatriates are led to by a curiously Pan-like boatman. Unavailable for seven decades, this new edition of Panic Spring shows Durrell’s emerging passion for Mediterranean life and the Greek world as well as his first attempts to articulate a political-aesthetic direction distinct from his peers, George Orwell and W.H. Auden. Under the shadow of financial and political ruin, on the verge of revolution and war, the one chance summer depicted in Panic Spring will make readers reconsider the impetus and interests behind Durrell’s late modernist masterpieces, The Alexandria Quartet, The Black Book, and Prospero’s Cell.
“Durrell’s career as a writer stretches from the 1930s to the 1990s. He was nominated for the Nobel prize and widely translated and canonized as an important British late Modernist novelist, poet and travel writer, best known for his Alexandria Quartet and Bitter Lemons. But this only tells half the story and indeed, more recently, attempts have been made to read Durrell backwards, from his last works, especially The Avignon Quintet. The result was a reappraisal of Durrell as a (proto)postmodernist author both from an aesthetic and an ideological point of view. The republication of Panic Spring in this fine, annotated and commented edition will give modernist criticism in general, and Durrell criticism in particular, another turn and will shift critical attention to the (equally crucial) transition from Durrell’s early modernist and surrealist phase to his late classical modernist peak. Panic Spring will thus find its place within the literary and cultural history of the first half of the twentieth century as an important missing link, accentuating the continuity of Durrell’s aesthetic and ideological development as a writer and as an influential cultural figure between the wars and beyond.”
“Durrell’s early writings are usually read through the prism of The Alexandria Quartet, which seems fair enough given Durrell’s own dismissal of Pied Piper of Lovers and Panic Spring as ‘wishy-washy stuff’ and the fact of their being long out of print. But Panic Spring – with its minimalist plot, discontinuous narrative within which each major character has a chapter, and spatial (cubistic) rather than linear structure – both seeks a serious engagement with Durrell’s modernist predecessors (Lawrence, Joyce, Woolf, Faulkner, among others) and demonstrates the validity of Henry Miller’s observation that places have affected Durrell ‘as much or more than people.’ Escaping England to write a book on Quietism on a small Greek island, its protagonist personifies Durrell’s first depiction of his ‘islomania,’ an ailment, as he explains in a later book on Rhodes, ‘as yet unclassified by medical science…. A rare but by no means unknown affliction of spirit,’ it causes its victims to ‘find islands somehow irresistible.’ It was a disease he flaunted proudly, and complexly, in subsequent works. This new scholarly edition provides a welcome opportunity to take the full measure of Durrellean beginnings.”
with an introduction by Rainer Nägele
edited and translated by Luke Carson
ELS no. 97. 192 pages. $22.00.
>> Order Hölderlin and the Question of the Father
“First published in French in 1961, Jean Laplanche’s Hölderlin and the Question of the Father, remains the single most important study of the relationship between the poet’s literary production and the profound psychic distress to which he eventually succumbed. By following Lacan’s hypothesis concerning the etiology of psychotic illness – the theory of the foreclosure of the paternal signifier – Laplanche is able to situate Hölderlin’s poetry at the place where in modernity the writer is compelled to struggle in new ways with fundamental questions concerning tradition, authorization, autonomy, originality, and the vitality – or deadness – of a language that is never simply one’s own. Laplanche’s study is finely tuned to the distinctive patterns of Hölderlin’s psychic life, above all in the period from 1794 to 1800 when his singular poetic voice was in the process of emerging. One must be grateful to Luke Carson for making this volume available to a new audience of readers.”
“Laplanche’s study of Hölderlin is not only the early work of one of Lacan’s most brilliant students, one who, in contrast to the large majority of students of such a powerful master, was able to work through the unavoidable transference to gain his own stature and independence, it is also a response to a text that pursued in the most rigorous manner the dissociation of life and work, the work as the most radical consummation of the life from which it emerges.”
edited and translated by Eric Miller
ELS no. 96. 192 pages. $22.00.
>> Order We Are Like Fire
The great German poet Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843) won the love and care of his younger contemporary, the rebellious writer Wilhelm Waiblinger (1804-1830). This love found durable expression in Waiblinger’s passionate novel Phaëthon, translated in the present volume. It is based, in part, on Hölderlin’s own Hyperion, in which the protagonist claims that “We are like fire,” an assertion substantiated in Waiblinger’s work. In Phaëthon, the flames of the sun, youth, eros, art and the ideal of liberty incandescently burn. This story, whose eponymous hero recollects Hölderlin as Waiblinger knew and imagined him, preserves among its pages several of Hölderlin’s most famous verse fragments. Phaëthon appeared in 1823, when Hölderlin was considered mad. Waiblinger scrupulously contests this verdict in his circumstantial essay “Friedrich Hölderlin’s Life, Poetry and Madness.” Published in 1831, after Waiblinger’s death, this essay is also included in the present volume. Waiblinger himself attracted the astringent affection of a later German writer, Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), whose “In Pressel’s Gardenhouse” (1914) depicts the conduct of Hölderlin, Waiblinger and the poet Eduard Mörike (1804-1875) among the vineyards above Tübingen. This story celebrates and indicts Waiblinger for his kindness and his impatience, in vivid relation to the figure of Hölderlin. Hesse’s story constitutes an act of literary criticism; he consents to step from behind the storyteller’s mask in his essay, “On Hölderlin” (1924). These documents, rendered elegantly by Eric Miller, form a picture of greatness and of the reciprocity sometimes possible between the young and the estranged of an older generation.
“Energetic singularity is being reportedly wasted: this bouquet of texts is a sharp reminder that the values and perils of such singularity are engines of any genuine culture. For enjoyment of these fine translations I recommend that Hesse's vivid invention ‘In Pressel’s Gardenhouse’ be read first; then – remembering that it was written (1827) in the fractured Italy of Leopardi and Byron, of Shelley and Keats – Waiblinger's limpid diagnosis of Hölderlin's ‘exhaustion,’ that poet's lunacy around 1820. Young Waiblinger's fiction, Phaëthon, of 1823, with its period histrionics, will then have a context and some appeal.”
“Waiblinger's work has hitherto been known only to insiders. Poet, novelist, and early admirer of Hölderlin, Waiblinger is a fascinating figure. At last, this splendid edition makes him known to a wider audience. The translator is to be congratulated on a bold and successful undertaking. This book is an essential volume for all lovers of Hölderlin's work.”
ELS no. 95. 148 pages. $18.00.
>> Order Through Words of Others
In pursuing Susan Howe's own writing "through words" of her literary predecessors, Collis ranges deep in and beyond the American archive's wilderness, catching sight of various elusive quarry: Charles Olson and Herman Melville; Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau, Edgar Allen Poe, and Margaret Fuller; Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, James Clarence Mangan and William Shakespeare. At the heart of this are the simple literary exchanges — embodied here in a selection of correspondence between Howe and Olson editor George Butterick — that remind us that poets invariably find their poetry in other poets' poetry, that the future is waiting for us in the past, and that no original or origin is ultimately possible.
ELS no. 94. 119 pages. $18.00.
>> Order Identifying the Remains
Conventional wisdom holds that the great Victorian novelist George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans, 1819-1880) lost her religious faith in her twenties, remained an agnostic (if not an atheist) for the rest of her life, and embodied in her fiction a secular humanism roughly equivalzent to Christian ethics cleansed of Christian belief. In Identifying the Remains, K. K. Collins challenges this commonly accepted view by exploring what the London religious press said about George Eliot when she died. With the entire secular coverage as background, Collins surveys over seventy-five obituaries, commemorative essays, critical articles, letters and notes from forty-eight religious papers and journals — Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Jewish, Nonconformist, non-sectarian, Presbyterian, Primitive Methodist, Swedenborgian, Unitarian, and Wesleyan. He argues that the absence of a known “personality” for George Eliot, who carefully guarded her private life from public scrutiny, forced even hostile religious journalists to try to come to terms with the essential mystery of her beliefs, a process suggesting that her heterodoxy was not nearly so definable in her own time as we have come to suppose it is in ours.
ELS no. 93. 352 pages. $40.00.
>> Order Passionate Collaborations
Passionate Collaborations takes Gertrude Stein's life and her prose as an occasion to reflect upon the place of "life" or "living" — in all of its intricate, messy, contradictory, elusive and mundane details — in acts of reading and writing. By exploring — through phenomenologically and psychoanalytically inflected lenses — a series of documented historical, collaborative, combative, and conflictual relationships with Stein, her writings, and reputation, Passionate Collaborations lays the groundwork for a reconsideration of contemporary approaches to Stein's work, as well as other acts of reading, and the practice of criticism in general. Written increasingly in dialogue and concluding with a play, Passionate Collaborations invites its reader, too, into the space of and for a passionate collaboration, a space where writing listens to and calls for attention to the manifold variety and detail of bodily experience, living, and feeling. In its very form, the text demonstrates that serious theorizing and criticism may take place in a variety of ostensibly "uncritical" modes and languages; that the practices of drama or fiction are not merely the objects of critical theory, but, often enough, its very best medium.
"Passionate Collaborations is a tremendous achievement that argues an original and controversial thesis at every turn. The quality and range of Cope's scholarly research is truly outstanding, and her grasp of the critical literature across a number of fields of intellectual inquiry is thorough, exacting, and always subtle. The reader is made to feel in very capable and trustworthy hands. Her flawless prose — at once lucid, elegant, engaged, and sometimes very moving — is a pleasure to read. It represents a major contribution not only to our knowledge of the life and work of Gertrude Stein, but also to the rethinking of the cardinal presuppositions of the critical enterprise itself."
"This is an extraordinary book. It is perhaps the most moving and important critical performance I have read in years, and this because it is nothing less than an effort to redefine what it means to read: what it means to read in relation to our loves, our passions, our lives, and our deaths. Taking its point of departure from Gertrude Stein's own most passionate collaborations — with Picasso, Toklas, and others — Cope suggests that there can be no writing without collaboration and, in the process, she elaborates what it means for a reader to collaborate with a writer, and the material conditions of what she calls an 'ecology' of reading. What is remarkable about the book is its intimacy with its subject: Cope inhabits the life and writings of Stein in a way that provides us with the most engaging, consequential, and precise reading of Stein that we have. Enacting within the very movement of her language what she wishes to convey to us, she teaches us to see as Stein saw and to read as she wrote. "